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Laurie Markvart's Diary of Nothing Left Unsaid

JUST KEEP DOING IT

Lately, the Nike “Just Do It” trademark is everywhere I look. Yes, their trademark has been around for a long time, but it’s become more prominent to my curious eye. Maybe because every time I squat down at the gym to grab a Kettlebell the Nike Swoosh on my shoe stares right back at me, screaming, “Just Do It!”

Nike is known for that singular theme. It’s so simple, so robust and frankly, misleading? Shit, nothing is as singular as “Just Do It.” Unless you’re talking about taking out the trash or feeding a crying baby. But, to “just do” the bigger things in life, like maintaining a relationship, raising kids, getting healthy and fit, navigating a career, or changing your life path, “Just Do It” isn’t enough. The big things require more than one action. They need a constant effort, a focused plan. And, I’m noticing it more and more in the last seven months after I left my corporate job of ten years, to “Just Do It.”

It was a good job, but it wasn’t the best for me, and most definitely not my calling. And, it took me a long time to get ready, to silence the qualm, and “Just Do It,” to quit and pursue my passion and purpose as a writer and musician. But, what I’m learning along the way is “Just Do It” is not about a result or a destination. In life, there is no guarantee your efforts will garner a reward, a payoff, a finish line or a destination besides death (oops..spoiler alert!). But, being ready and showing up is where it’s at. So my new mantra is: “Just KEEP Doing It.”

In my effort to “Just KEEP Doing It,” I will keep writing daily because I purely enjoy it. I’m showing up! Do I want my work published? HELL to the YES. A gal has to make some money. A guarantee when this will happen? I’m not sure but I’ll KEEP working on it and enjoy every day of it. Do I write songs for guaranteed radio play? No, I write because I f’n love it. When I’m at the gym or Yoga, do I enjoy the muscle burn of a squat or sweat dripping down my back, NO, but I desire the immediate fulfillment each rep or Yoga pose gives me. Will I ever hit my ideal BMI? Maybe? But, not a guarantee. But I’ll continue the process and “Just KEEP Doing It” because TODAY is the reward.

We all have goals, aspirations, hopes, and dreams but we can’t hang our hat on fulfilling them. There is no guarantee that if we “Just Do It” we will “Just Get It.” So, we MUST enjoy each moment while we’re in the process.

Unfortunately, I see too many people working with the old mantra “Just Do It.” They’re slugging away, despairingly at their job or their family duties, or the gym, apparently holding off their joy until they reach their destination or their milestone. You know the ones I’m talking about. The ones you’d like to say, “Hey, Darth Vadar when’s the last time you took some time off? You’re a little angry?” They might be pursuing authentic goals for retirement, a distant vacation, weight loss, financial security, getting the kids off to college, etc. And all those are legitimate BUT do their long term goals bring DAILY satisfaction and happiness? Because, what if they don’t reach their goals?

I just watched a great Goalcast motivational video by actor Peter Dinklage called “Light Up the Night.” He talked about walking away from the security of a job that he hated but clung to for six years out of fear before deciding to make the leap into acting. His question to the audience, “Maybe I was afraid of change, are you?” I love his approach, his thoughts, his attitude. He “Just Did It” but he lived EVERY day as who he should be, with no guarantee of the outcome of who he would be. As he said, “When I was 29, I told myself, the next acting job I get, no matter what it pays, I will from now on, for better or worse, be a working actor.” If you watch, you’ll see he sure didn’t do it over night. He had to “Just KEEP Doing It.”

Our future feels limitless. But, TODAY is limited. I’m not encouraging anyone to make a significant change, quit a job or do lots of squats at the gym. Unless you want to! But, I’m encouraging everyone to be authentic to “today.” If you love your job, enjoy it daily, and DON’T do it for a future promotion or a big retirement package. If you like saving money, do it but remember that a planned vacation or retirement is only as good as your health is to enjoy it. If you love your kids, spend time with them. Or stalk them with a phone tracker like I do my teenager. And if you hate to exercise, acknowledge yourself after your workout with a pat on the back for at least showing up.

Overall, take inventory, and make sure each day brings joy and fulfillment. Make sure you’re happy TODAY  because “Just Do It” is so much more than the finish line. Who knows what tomorrow brings? We never know the outcome of anything until it’s over. So, “Just KEEP Doing It.”

 

 

 

 

 

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Life Lessons from Joshua Tree, CA

You know when you go on vacation to a really great place, like a really great place, where Instagram or Facebook can’t do it justice. And how you swear the sun sets differently and the stars sparkle in an unlike way and even the morning sun, you ponder, looks altered when it rises. Well, I’m hardly up for a sunrise, but you get my drift. The place that makes you pause and go, “Whoa.”

As I’m writing this, my teenage son and I are staying in a calming, beautifully renovated 1970s ranch style Airbnb in Joshua Tree, CA. The home sits high on a mountain vista against the north side of the Joshua Tree National Park where two different deserts come together, the Mojave and Colorado. Just like my teenage son and me: different.

Tonight, from the comfortable outdoor patio, the panoramic majestic views and sunset make me pause and think, “Wow, I could live here.” Until, my teenage son interrupts my lavish thoughts with, “Mom, this is soooooo boring out here. When do we go home?” “Son, we just got here.” He mumbles something and goes inside to the converted garage game room. Yes, this Airbnb has a game room: Pool table and TV for his PS4. So, please…stop the complaining, son. But, see, he’s just graduated 8th grade, and his head is figuratively back in L.A. with his friends who will be off to different high schools in the fall, and it’s hitting him hard he’s not hanging with them now. He’s known these guys for nine years. Basically, most his life so I can’t deny his feelings of loss and fear even though I am aware he’ll recover.

See, I thought, before he embarks into a tight summer schedule of high school sports and academic camps, I’d take him away for a 3-night mini vacay. I’ll get him out of the intensity of Los Angeles, so we can experience some down time, play tourist, get to know each other again: outside of yelling and scrambling to make school deadlines, and maybe (hopefully?) sleep. But before I hit I-10 East out of L.A. he’s asking:

      1) Did you pack my PS4?

      2) Is there WIFI?

      3) What about my friends?

      4) Is there a pool?

      5) Did you bring my soccer ball?

      6) When do we come back?

The reality is, I can’t deny the teenager brain, albeit annoying. I try as any parent to correct and teach him, but until he grows through this period, I acknowledge the obvious: he encompasses all the narcissistic and demanding emotions only a teenager is capable of. Well, sometimes, he can be compassionate, engaging, wise, endearing and incredibly loving. A glimpse at the young man he’s becoming. But until that time, EVERYTHING is boring (except his friends, PS4, and soccer). Right now, he has major FOMO, and I have ICGAS. Okay, I’ll spare you googling if you don’t know: FOMO – Fear Of Missing Out. ICGAS: I Can’t Give A Shit. But, I do give a wee bit of a shit ‘cause to him, his requests are very, very important. So, I found this swank house that takes care of his number 1-3 concerns. Am I an indulgent parent? ICGAS, I need this vacay too!

As for number 5 – it’s too damn hot out, and for number 4, there is no pool, but there is a very nice outdoor Jacuzzi and our first night we took a dip and challenged each other to who could stand up from the water in the cool desert wind the longest. He won. We also had a competitive game of Pool. I won. We also saved a desert mouse from entrapment behind a window screen. We’ve seen lizards, snakes, and many wild rabbits and even examined rabbit droppings during a mini-hike. So, we are bonding over challenges, desert creatures, and rabbit shit. It’s not all PS4 and me staring at sunsets. But, getting back to that sunset. Tonight is an orange, red warmth peeking through the western mountain range of Juniper and Joshua trees and I sit stunned by the beauty. Alone, yes. My son inside engaged in a PS4 battle but that’s okay, I need this sunset more than he does. He can’t “see” it yet anyway.

I look around at the other houses in the distance, but I see no one outside. Are other people looking at this sky? This sunset is spectacular! I assume they’ve stopped what they’re doing to look at this, right? Like, every night? But, maybe this is normal to them, this type of sunset? This is their everyday beauty, and they’re used to it? Maybe they don’t notice anymore?

I see this sunset because it’s new to me, so I’m soaking in every detail. But, when we (collectively including myself) become used to our everyday beauty, maybe we don’t notice anymore? Whether it’s sunsets, quiet rides home from school, or panicked trips TO school, or just the pure beauty of those loved ones in our everyday lives. It’s your partner, your neighbors, your kids, your hobbies, your job, your passions, your whatever. Sometimes we forget the beauty, and we need to step back and go, “Wow, I love living here. In my life.”

So, here I sit on the Airbnb patio, enjoying someone else’s sunset but when I look at the patio doors, I see my sunset in my teenager, having a blast playing PS4 with his friends 150 miles away. He is not at all giving a shit about the outdoor sunset or my awareness of him, and that is okay. Someday he’ll be aware. But for now, he has his sunset, and that’s his buds. For me, I have the knowledge he’s happy, healthy and I’m at the moment in Joshua Tree thinking, “I love living here. In my life.”

Cue: sunset shot.

For Mother’s Day: A Tribute to My Late Mom, Her Persistence, and Mark Hamill’s Willingness.

          A long time ago in a galaxy far…okay, you’ve heard that one already. But, my story is just as epic (in my mind anyway), especially since it involves my mother, and none other than Luke Skywalker himself, Mark Hamill.

          I grew up in a tiny town in Wisconsin called Waterloo. When Star Wars came out in 1977, Waterloo’s population was about two-thousand people. The population now: three-thousand and some change. You get my drift: small, farming community in the land of milk, cheese, friendly people, and a take no shit, tell it like it is, gets the job done woman, my mother, Mary Ann Archie.

          Star Wars played for months at our one-screen theater in Waterloo called The Mode. My Mom would take us every weekend. As a kid, The Mode was more than a theater to me, it was a transport device that carried me all over the world by way of the movies. With Star Wars, it took me into another galaxy.

          I can’t count how many times I saw Star Wars in 1977 because I don’t have enough fingers. But, I do remember, with each Star Wars film through 1983, I was a young teenager and smitten beyond belief with Mark Hamill. So much so that I inscribed with a permanent marker on the metal light pole in front of our house…Laurie Loves Mark Hamill. Naturally, I drew a heart around it, arrow included. I thought for sure if I made my love known to the Waterloo townsfolk and to The galaxy, maybe the Force would be with me and bring Mark Hamill to my little town of Waterloo and rescue me to more exciting places.

          After graduating high school in 1985, I left Waterloo in hyperdrive. I was a budding musician and actress looking for new adventures. My aspirations would take me to Minneapolis, Austin, New York City, and eventually landing in Los Angeles. All along the way, my mom would cheer me on from her stoop in Waterloo, encouraging me to reach for the stars. Until one day the stars came to her.

          Lightspeed ahead to 2001-2002. Mom is still living her content life in Waterloo, and I’m now residing in Los Angeles, a struggling musician, and actress. The light pole and my admittance of love for Mark Hamill lost in my memory banks. Until Mom calls and announces the unbelievable. Mark Hamill is in Waterloo. He is filming a movie called Reeseville. Just a fact: Reeseville is another little town in Wisconsin. Just up the road from Waterloo. Population: Even smaller than Waterloo. 

          I recall the phone call as such:

          “Laurie, Mark Hamill is in Waterloo. I can’t believe this! Mark Hamill! He’s here to film a movie. In little Waterloo! I wonder if he’ll eat at the diner? Do you want me to get his autograph? I’ll tell him about the light pole!” 

          I’m now a thirty-four-year-old woman reduced to an embarrassed teenager. I plead, “Oh, Mom! No, that’s crazy! I forgot about the light pole! No, no. Please, that’s not necessary.”

          “But, Laurie. He’s Mark Hamill. And you’re someone too! You’re a musician and actress. I’ll bring him your headshot.”

          “Oh, God, Mom, no. That’s just too much.”

          “Nothing is too much for me, Laurie. I’ll get that autograph. You just wait,” she says and hangs up. Oh, crap.

          Now, I’m horrified as I think she’ll just embarrass herself. I’m truly no-one, and for her to parade over to him with my headshot and declare my importance? And my pre-adolescent love for him? Dreadful. 

          Reassuring myself, I think, I’ve been around the business enough to know there will be some form of security, a barricade, some type of force between her and Mark Hamill. Even in Waterloo. She won’t get near him. More importantly, I don’t want her feelings hurt. But then again, she is a force to reckon with. She is no daisy. Well, I think, May the Force be with you, Mom.

          Days pass, and I don’t hear anything from Mom about Mark Hamill or The galaxy for that matter. I assume she didn’t meet him and has chosen to not call and confess her failure. Until I check the mail. There I find an 8 ½ x 11 manila envelope addressed in my mother’s handwriting to Laurie Marks. Also, there are multiple DO NOT BEND notices on it. Notable point…Laurie Marks is the stage name I used at the time, and it’s the name on the headshot Mom presumably put into the correct hand(s) to get an autograph from Mark Hamill. Hence, the contents of the manila envelope. 

          His autograph, on a white 8 ½ x 11 piece of white paper, not only has his signature but his profession of love for me (okay, remember the fantasy part and the light pole here, people): Mark Hamill LOVES LAURIE MARKS! Yes, with an exclamation mark. He includes the heart around our names and the arrow. Jeez, he even went a bit further and included scalloped edging. I didn’t even do that on the pole! Damn, this guy is good. Well, he IS Luke Skywalker.

          Impressed by his detailed autograph, I think…either he is that generous and with a good sense of humor to draw the heart (which I assume he is) and/or my mom is as persuasive and as persistent as I know she is. Or, how about both.

          She would never tell me the details on how she obtained the autograph, and I never pushed, honoring her cunning skills to follow through on something she sets her mind to. She would only say, “I waited a long, long time but it was worth it, to get it for you.” 

          So, thank you, Mark Hamill. Oh, pause, can I call you Luke? Okay, sorry. Continuing…Thank you, because this is my first Mother’s Day without her and finding your autograph only reminds me how f’n cool you are and how special she was – the actual force in our family. 

          And if by chance you did meet her in person that day in Waterloo, then you met a great broad. But, if she got your autograph through security, staff, and/or bribes (an offering of booze, cigarettes or a good joke), that is okay too. It doesn’t matter. The message of the light pole got to you, and your response made her day. You brought her to a more exciting place. And in return, my reward – a happy and star-struck Mom and the knowledge she would do anything for her family.

          Oh, lastly and not lost on me at all, my long-time fantasy also fulfilled: a heart-shaped message, from Mark Hamill, complete with an arrow. I guess The galaxy was listening. 

 

 

When I’m Not Writing, I’m Singing, and I’m Doing It in Front of People This Sunday!

When I’m not writing, or blogging, or talking, or thinking, or bs’n…I’m singing.  And I’m singing this Sunday, April 23, 7:30pm at Bar Lubitsch. You can buy advance tickets here (suggested):

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/laurie-markvart-unplugged-tickets-33743184774

Until then…here’s a taste of the lyrics from the song GIVE ME ALL that will start the show. The song can also be purchased on iTunes if you want to get a listen before Sunday.

Hope to see you there. Cheers!

Always close to nothing
But closer than before
I hate to knock anything
Although it’s such a bore

To forgo any love
To trade for some luck
Hoping for tomorrow
I will not be so stuck
Trivial little happiness
At my finger tips

(©) lauriemarkvart

A Poem for the Compassionate Man

Okay, ladies, we may hammer back when we defend ourselves against men who come at us publicly or privately about our…yup…menstrual cycle. Those guys who say things like, “Oh, she must be on her period, that’s why she’s a bitch.” Or worse yet they call another guy a bitch and ask him if he’s on his period. Sorry guys, he’s not on his period. Possibly he’s just not a dick like you.

Back to the “period,” or commonly called by many women, (honesty alert here!), “the rag,” “the red baron,” “TOTM,” “the monthly visitor,” “Aunt Flo,” “pipes have burst.”  See, women can joke about it because WE must deal with it. And when guys think they are “dealing” with it ’cause their woman is dealing with it…sorry…that’s like saying, “Yeah, I had a flat tire, and I had to watch Bob the mechanic put on a new tire, and it took forever. What a drag that was.”

The truth is, guys will never know what women go through and we can’t hold that against them. But, we can hold against them their acts of unkindness, lack of consideration, and intolerance to women. Usually, these actions are due to their lack of proper education by their mother or sisters. Or, they are so uncomfortable with the subject they find it easier to joke about or condemn it or worst of all tell a woman when she seems to be losing her shit, “It’s all in your head.” Actually guys…it’s all in our ovaries. That’s where it starts. 

This isn’t meant to be a feminist post today or a slam to men. I’m taking this the other direction. This is to acknowledge those guys who ARE loving, patient and compassionate to what their woman goes through. These are the guys who know to get the hell out the way when they see it coming and support their woman by giving her space and not condemning her. Or, especially for those guys who listen, give their time, energy, and love to their woman and honor her. These are the actual soldiers and REAL men. So, ladies let’s honor our men too. There are many good ones out there. And here’s to mine:

He talks me off an edge
He brings me down
He gently eases my head
Not sure how he wears the crown

To always rise when I am low
To always fight for me, not dispose
To always pull me through
No complaint as he goes

I may cry, I may scream
Never at him
He knows what I mean
I shutter at my own dismay
Honored he stays, yet another day

This man captains a wayward ship
His beloved trips upon her own weary lip
She does not know when she’ll return
Yet, her heart for him will always yearn.

“Should I Stay” – Lyrical Poem for the Day

Today, I’m sharing poetic lyrics of memory. Not sure when I’ll set the music but when that flows, I will.  If it doesn’t, then it’s just a poem.

My muse-in the past. Gone. But I still look for her. The needs of a daughter do not disappear with the departed. Nor do the issues of why she drove me crazy or why I loved her so much.

Today, poetic lyrics. Getting it out, letting it flow and being in THIS moment. Someday, acceptance. Just not today. And that is okay ’cause I can’t go back, and I certainly can’t jump forward. And sorry to say, this applies to all of us. Unless you have a time machine. And if you do, DM me. I’d love to hear about it. xo

#bepresent, #beintheflow, #beinthemoment

Should I stay
 Should I walk away
 Does it pay to know how you feel

Should I stay
 Should I lie down next to you
 Cry for a while

Memories, you and me
 Blanket my mind
 Tell me I should run, hide

But I look at you
 And I see what you do
 And I know for now, I’ll stay

Should I stay
 Give us another day
 I can’t breathe for you

Should I stay
 Give it more time to play
 In my head, broken, astray 
 But today, I’ll stay

©Laurie Markvart

Change. Embrace It? Steer It? Challenge It? or Just Get the Hell out of the Way. You Do Have a Choice.

I’m going through some changes and trying to figure stuff out. Yup, me and every one of you is too. Daily. Big ones, small ones. But let’s keep this about me. Okay, kidding. Yes, this is for all of us. But I need to talk about my quest to understand change and then if it resonates with you…please throw it back to me with a comment, and by all means, give me a great quote on change ’cause if I know one thing…there are never enough quotes on the subject!

If you Google “sayings about change” you have 20,500,000 results to play with. Goodreads alone has 4,597 quotes. There are pages dedicated to “awesome quotes,” “life changing quotes,” “inspiring quotes” and naturally they are supportive and positive. I didn’t find too many pages on “nasty quotes” or “go f yourself quotes” or “you suck quotes.” Those would actually be quite funny. Please share if you’ve found some!

Quotes about change are meant to uplift and elevate you and by all means…make you feel you are not alone. And sometimes they do ’cause you think okay…if someone else is saying it they must be feeling it too. And they probably are but, when it comes to you and your experience just like me and mine…we are alone on the deepest level when it comes to change. A quote ain’t gonna get you out of it. It might make you think differently or approach it differently which is great but believe me…no one is holding your hand. More on that debilitating thought in a second…

During my Google search, I must admit the one page I clicked on was “30 Famous Quotes About Change” because if ecosalon.com has narrowed it down to thirty, they’ve done the work for all of us! Of course, quotes are from famous poets, writers, philosophers, even Confucius! I mean if Confucius said: They must often change, who would be constant in happiness or wisdom. Well, we must concur, yes? I mean, I’m not going to question Confucius. Actually, there are some lovely quotes within the 30 but by the time I got to the bottom of the page to the last quote by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow – For, after all, the best thing one can do when it is raining is let it rain. I thought…oh hell, really?!  I didn’t realize we had an option on rain?! But yes, I get the metaphor. And it’s true! But after that, I decided enough of the quotes. As well, I was then distracted by what came next on ecosalon’s page:  ALSO CHECK THESE OUT: 30 Best Quotes About Sex. I was SO curious, but I did NOT click and go down that rabbit hole. But if YOU want to, here’s the page: http://ecosalon.com/30-best-quotes-on-change/

Okay, back to change and my debilitating comment about how we are alone on the deepest level when it comes to change. But you see, it’s not debilitating nor sad but actually kinda cool if approached openly, and no I’m not going to provide a quote here. Just state my own feelings…if we understand that change is not necessarily about what has happened but how we react to it and that we are the masters and in the driver’s seat (you can only have ONE driver) then we have a choice. The choice is not the change itself but how we react to it. Because even if we make the change…we still need to respond to it! And that is what it’s all about.

Change can come like a nasty curveball. I can decide to dodge it, get hit by it (not always a choice) or catch it and throw the damn thing back. I own how I react to change. And yes, change can also be the most blessed warm and lovely moment in life in which YOU chose to make. But you still must react to it! In my life, many times I’ve wanted change. I chose love, I chose to have a baby (talk about a change! And the two people involved (yes, we who “made” said baby)…we both reacted differently to that change!), I chose to make a significant career change. These are all beautiful things, and they changed me, and I continue to react to them!

But in stark comparison to the beautiful changes, I’ve also had some nasty curveballs. I didn’t choose to lose a baby (not the same one mentioned above!), lose my parents or lose my marriage or endure heartbreak in which I thought I would never recover. THESE are the life altering ones that over the years started my quest for quotes on change; change that is so large it shifts your consciousness and total being. But I realized with each quote I found they filled my head with words but made only a small dent on my heart. Maybe if I read more quotes, it would fill my heart? No, what I realized is I need to start reacting to the change and take action. Make a choice. While I’m alone on “my” journey, reading quotes, reaching out to friends, writing music, loving and being loved and talking it out…all help. But the most assistance is to recognize I am in the driver’s seat and I can make a choice on how I REACT to all the changes. With that knowledge, I feel a lot better. I’m not a victim, nor a victor. I am the navigator.

So, thank you, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. I may not be able to stop the rain, but I learned I can choose to find an umbrella or say screw it…I’m going to dance in the rain.

Valentine’s Day from a Different Perspective…How Do They Make You Feel? What’s It Feel like to Love Someone? It’s a Challenge I Give to You…

Ah…Valentine’s Day. It’s the day held aside to celebrate love. Most especially for lovers. If anything it’s dominated by lovers. With media and retail targeting lovers to buy the largest bouquet of roses or candies or a giant stuffed bear, to prove how much you love someone. Well, I call total bullshit on all of it. There is far more to love than an expression of a store-bought card or flowers, set aside for one day.

And no, I’m not at a loss because I did not receive flowers today or something related to Valentines. I have a guy who fills my life with so much love on the daily that I would feel overindulged if he caved to the marketing schemes. I know how much we love each other…we live it and share it all the other 364 days.

NOW, if you did receive flowers or an expression of love from your lover or someone you care about-beautiful and ENJOY! But, I challenge all of you to this…look around and take notice that Valentine’s Day is not just for lovers and store bought cards and dinner reservations. It is being loved and for loving. Loving your parents, your siblings, your friends, your co-workers, your family, your neighbor, whoever is important to you and of course…YOURSELF. The hardest one of all!

But that’s not just it – HOW DOES THEIR LOVE MAKE YOU FEEL? And HOW DOES YOUR LOVE MAKE THEM FEEL? The words I LOVE YOU are sometimes not enough to truly express how you totally feel. And sometimes they are the hardest words to say.

Years ago I wrote a song called I WANT TO TELL YOU. I wanted to tell someone I loved them but I couldn’t muster up the courage to simply say I love you. The words seemed too heavy, too bold, too exposing. So, I decided instead to write a song (as all songwriters do), describing how their love makes me feel. Listen below if you’d like. If it inspires you to tell someone how their love makes you feel…AWESOME!

So, people…just love and share and don’t let the f’n media or advertisers make you feel like shit about this day. Feel empowered. It’s meant for love on all levels. Let those you love know how their love makes you feel. And btw…if you’ve read this far…I love you. You make me feel humbled and happy!

xo, L

I WANT TO TELL YOU by Laurie Markvart

I never thought I’d struggle to say
Such tempting words
At times they just seem empty
At times they mean the world

Chorus:
I want to tell you how this feels
You’re everything to me
I want to tell you how this feels
I really want you to know
What it’s like to love you.

I hesitate to think of it
It all seems so surreal
But does it really matter
If I never even utter a breath

I bite my lip when I touch you
I close my eyes and hold my breath
I hope you feel as I do
Nothing else could matter quite like this

My First – If WordPress Doesn’t Piss Me off It May Be My Last…But It’s Important. It’s My Mother.

This is my very first post. Strangely enough, it’s on an older subject. Although, the issue isn’t that old, eight months to be exact. To the date, a matter of fact. To the damn date. I didn’t plan this, swear.

So, in the span of a lifetime of loving someone…the eight months…are a raindrop. And the severity, the clarity of the subject is absolutely forefront and as tender as the day I spoke these words further below. These are the words I used to memorialize my mother, Mary Ann Archie. My mom, this quick-witted, sensitive, tough as nails (how can you be both? I don’t know, but she was) or as my teenage son says…”she was a beast,” beautiful woman left our family on June 9, 2016. She was 77. Old enough to know better but young enough to still start trouble. Dammit!

I spoke of her at her memorial, exactly a week and two days after her passing, still retched with disbelief that she was gone even though I was with her when she passed. But how can she be gone? I saw her go! Like a train leaving a station! Like a wave leaving the beach! I saw her leave. And yet, I still ached for her to be there. And I still ache for her today. Endlessly.

For her eulogy, at first I did not have words, then I had too many. In the end, there is never enough words, or too little, or time or feelings for that matter. We just are. We go with the flow of what we feel on that given day. Today I feel like shit about her not being here. Tomorrow I may feel absolutely free and glorious in knowing she is…free! The beauty is in accepting whatever you may be feeling in that day and being damn right okay with it. Difficult to do, but needed.

But as for that eulogy, maybe if I wrote her eulogy a day or two earlier or a day or two later it would have been different. But that day, the flow poured out, and I did not stand in its way. This was how I felt about my mom Mary Ann on the day of her memorial. And actually, I still feel the same, and I wish I could hug her. Hug her like only a daughter could hug a mom and a mom hug a daughter. Breathlessly.

Please don’t expect many of my posts to be of such grave nature. There will be a lot of joy, sarcasm, poetry, song lyrics, love and lots of bullshit mixed in. This world needs bullshit. That would be my mother’s contribution coming through me. And I don’t mean bullshit as in…to pull the wool over one’s eyes or to deceive, but I mean good old fashioned fun as she would say, “Let’s sit around and bullshit for awhile.”

So, I must start this blog where I feel there is life. And that was with her. She was the beginning of me but not the end. She planted a seed I now water. Life you see is endless. And I hope this eulogy below brings comfort, joy or just pure love to anyone who reads it. As many can relate when losing someone who is so fucking impactful on your life, you’re dumbfounded by their absence. Or maybe more so…dumbfounded by their constant presence within you. This is love.

Eulogy for Mary Ann Archie: 

Nothing can prepare you for how much others love the one you love. I’ll say it again cause it’s a messy one. Nothing can prepare you for how much others love the one you love. I’ve realized this recently when reconnecting with family and my mother’s friends and discovering their depth of love for my mother. Love isn’t singular. It is broad and it is beautiful and expressed and exchanged fluidly, and my mom did that with everyone she met. Everyone meant something to her. And those closest to her she loved immensely and they returned that love to her. Again, nothing can prepare you for love others have for the one you love. And then you find it so extraordinary because it makes you love them that much more.

And my mother was love. She lived it and deeply. She was an incredibly sensitive soul, and she could only love deeply. She invested her whole heart to those she cared for. In turn her heart would break to the same depth if they were hurt or if they hurt her. That is the way she loved, and that is the way she taught me to love. Boldly. She would say, “If you love fully, you can hurt fully but why would you love any less?” My mother never did anything “less”. She really didn’t. She lived passionately and honestly…and full of love.

I can only honestly talk about Mary Ann as a mother and a friend (in my adult life), but I witnessed her as a daughter, a wife, a sister, a niece, an aunt, a cousin, a mother-in-law and a friend to many…but of course so important as a grandmother. Her most prized role that of a parent and grandparent. She endeared her life to her children and her grandchildren and in turn, she formed eternal bonds with us through small joking ways which were very common with my mother or through deep, meaningful, spiritual heartfelt conversations that if anyone knew Mary Ann, they knew they could have them safely and intimately with her. As her children and grandchildren we were extraordinarily blessed to find her as our confidant and guide. As a teenager, I rented my mother out to my friends frequently. There were times my friends would call and ask to talk to my mom! Yes, they didn’t want me, they wanted her! They could speak to her about things they couldn’t share with their parents. And she did it lovingly and with honor. If you found her available to you, you found yourself in the beauty of a gentle soul willing to give herself to you.

There is an enormity of losing a parent. Especially when you’ve had the blessing of having them around in your adult life to consider them a friend. She was my teacher, a willing subject to listen to my rants and raves, my heartaches, my happiness. She was my biggest fan. Literally. As a musician…I think she had more of my CDs and promotional pictures than I do! She used to come out to my rock shows, wearing my band’s T-shirt and hang with the band or the fans. She never had trouble fitting in. In any situation…any situation…she was the first to say hello and the last to say goodbye. She was…remarkable.

So, how do you sum up the life of someone who has impacted yours so greatly that you can’t imagine the world without them? All you can do is live with them as part of your soul and all their teachings a part of you and your character. And your body from them, you are them. My mother…truly from whom I came. I am a part of her. I look at my hands, and I see her. I look at my reflection, and I see her. More than anything I feel her in my heart and hear her in my words. She is with me everywhere. I look at my family, and I see her in my brother in his hearty laugh, I see her in her grandchildren with their quick humor and snarky comments. But of course, their sensitivity and sweetness that I know she impressed upon them. Most of all I see her in her granddaughter, my niece, Amanda. Amanda and my mother had a special bond. A genuine, loving sweet fondness for each other. Amanda took care of her grandmother to the depths most young women could not endure. And I know my mother was grateful. Beyond grateful, because my mom was able to bond with her granddaughter. There may not even be a word that can describe how much Amanda meant to my mother. But…love. My mother was love.

So, again, how do you sum up the life of someone who has impacted yours so greatly that you can’t imagine the world without them? Well, through hugs. My mom’s approach to all people was always genuine and usually started with a hug. She had a colorful language that amused most, and she used it frequently and most of the time appropriately. Most of the time. Okay, some of the time. You could call her… robustly truthful. You always knew were you stood with Mary Ann. AND Especially if she greeted you with a hug.

Back in the ’80s, my mom loved an author and motivational speaker named LEO BUSCAGLIA. He was called Dr. Love, and he endlessly promoted the power of a hug. He said, “Hugging is good medicine. It transfers energy and gives the person hugged an emotional lift. And the nicest thing about a hug is that you usually can’t give one without getting one.” My mom took me to one of Leo Buscaglia’s speeches back in the ’80s. At the end of his speech, he said he would give hugs to as many people in the audience as possible. There were hundreds of people there so my mom and I jumped up to get in line to get a hug. We were both thrilled for the opportunity, but unfortunately they cut the line off right after my mom and before me. But my mom unselfishly pushed me in front of her and told me to get the hug from him. I argued and stated that she was the bigger fan. She, in turn, said, “You get the hug from him, then hug me and then I get it too.” She was like that. Always put everyone else first. So how do I sum up a life and that of up Mary Ann? Through a hug. So as a family we’d like all of you to leave with a hug card. My mom used to carry these around with her and randomly hand them out to people. Please take a card and share the card. And HUG! Sharing the card and hugging with be sharing her legacy.

I leave you with this…please turn to the person next to you, both sides and give them a hug! We all knew and loved Mary Ann. My mother. And she would want us to hug. Thank you. 

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